Detroit Lions: How the 2018 draft class can take the next step
The Detroit Lions got some solid returns on their six 2018 draft selections, but questions remain, and there is room for improvement. How did they perform and what can they do to take the next step?
When the Detroit Lions selected offensive lineman Frank Ragnow out of the University of Arkansas in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, there were undoubtedly some Lions fans left scratching their heads. After all, while the team needed some help on the offensive line, the first round may have seemed a little rich.
“No defensive lineman? No running back? Who’s Frank Ragnow?” These refrains were likely heard across the Lions fanbase, as well as from analysts and media members.
With time however, Lions general manager Bob Quinn’s vision for the roster replaced those doubts, as the importance in reshaping offensive front became more and more clear. The Lions were determined to field a strong offensive line, and they weren’t afraid to invest major capital in order to do it.
Improving the running game – a longstanding problem in Detroit – was also a clear theme in this draft, and the second round selection of Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson was a big step in the right direction. Add in the fact that they selected a fullback in the seventh round, and the transformation was in gear.
The Lions waited until the fourth round to address their needs along the defensive line, but they seemed to have hit a home run with the versatile Da’Shawn Hand. In addition, third round pick safety Tracy Walker plays a position of high importance in head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni’s system, and he will be counted on to play a much bigger role in the wake of veteran safety Glover Quin’s release this month.
Bob Quinn has stated that it generally takes two years before you can properly evaluate a draft class, however we here at SideLion Report are impatient. So today, we’ll take an in-depth look at the performance of each of the Lions’ 2018 draftees as well as their outlook for 2019, starting with their first round pick.